Vision and purpose

Our vision

Montage images of NERC science

To place environmental science at the heart of responsible management of our planet.

We no longer live in a natural world - there is virtually no part of the environment that we have left unchanged.

Our growing population and the way we live has changed our relationship with the environment and humans are now the dominant source of change.

People around the world aspire to escape poverty and improve living standards: achieving this whilst living within the Earth's limits is a great challenge of the 21st century.

NERC science has a critical role to play in meeting this challenge - to help the UK deliver innovation and growth with responsible environmental management.

Our purpose

NERC was created in 1965 when a number of environmental research organisations and surveys were brought together by Royal Charter.

Our Charter sets out our responsibilities:

  • to promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research, survey, long-term environmental observation and monitoring and related post-graduate training in environmental and related sciences
  • to advance knowledge and technology ... and to provide services and trained scientists and engineers which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries ... thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of the UK, the effectiveness of public services and policy and the quality of life
  • and to generate public awareness, communicate research outcomes, encourage public engagement and dialogue, disseminate knowledge and provide advice in relation to those activities.